The first stop in my trip around the world.
On June 1st I started my dream trip around the world. I left for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from Mississauga, Canada, arriving on June 3rd. The total duration of the trip was 33 hours and 40 minutes, the flight had 2 stops in New York, United States of America and Moscow, Russia. The cost of this flight was $1681. From Mississauga to Ulaanbaatar it is 9830.40 km. While in Mongolia, I chose to travel around the city of Ulaanbaatar for 4 days (this does not include the days I spent travelling on an airplane). I visited the Terelj National Park, Gandantegchenling Montastery, and Tunmen Ekh Ensemble. The Terelj National Park was stunning and well worth the visit. It was in the middle of nowhere, but was quite incredible. I got to meet local families, and watch children ride horses like they were born on them! It was so beautiful to see and brought a huge smile to my face. The horses were beautifully cared for and the park was clean and peaceful. For most of the afternoon I sat on the mountain top and looked at the clouds and scenery. I really enjoyed taking many pictures of all the different wildflowers and plants along the walking trails. I chose to go off the beaten path for my walks, however, this is highly not recommended. Don't forget to pack lots of water and snacks, if planning to stay there the whole day! I learned this, the hard way!
Terelj National Park, Mongolia
The Gandantegchenling Monastery is 1.5 km north west of the central square in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I found it to be a working institution rather than a tourist attraction, which was very nice. The interior of the Buddhist Monastery was very impressive and awe-inspiring. I arrived at noon and it was full of people however, it is so big that you did not feel overwhelmed or crowded. The interiors were wonderful and gave a great representation of Buddhist symbolism and art. The Monastery is home to one of the largest standing Buddha's. It is also one of the few Buddhist temples that was not destroyed during the early communist years, which I found to be very interesting. If you go between 9 and 10 am you can see the Monks chanting. It costs roughly 5 dollars (Canadian) to get in, and 3 dollars (Canadian) to take pictures. It was most definitely worth the stop. It was also nice to sit outside and catch some sun, while feeding the birds. One thing to be cautious about is that it is a place of worship so long pants and shirts that cover the shoulder are to be worn at all time while visiting.
Gabdantegchenling Monastery, Mongolia
Tumen Ekh Ensemble at the National Recreation Centre was extremely entertaining at such a low price. I expected the National Recreation Centre to be centrally located but instead it was located down a long windy street. For a second I though the taxi driver was taking us somewhere else, I was so scared! The building seemed very tiny from the outside, but it was fairly large. The theater is a room with step/bleacher style seating on the far wall (which felt like the 1900's). It was a great place to see traditional dance and music. After watching the show I have more understanding about the culture and traditional customs of Mongolia. The singers, instruments, contortionists, and instrumentals were all remarkable.
Tumen Ekh Emsemble, Mongolia
A restaurant that I really enjoyed was called 'Hazara', it specialized in authentic Indian dishes and served local dishes as well. The restaurant had amazing service and excellent food that made me go back two other times! I spent my nights at the Ramada Ulaanbaatar in City Centre, the hotel was located in a good area for shopping and sight-seeing. The cost per night was roughly $211. After Ulaanbaatar I plan to visit Manila, Philippines. This has so far been an amazing vacation.